Review Summary: Low lie the fields of Athenry, where once we watched the small free birds fly...
For the longest time, the middle of March has easily been one of my favorite times of year. With summer lurking around the corner, the weather begins to get somewhat bearable; and regardless of what seems to be going on in my life, the weather just seems to make me feel good. The greatest thing about the middle of March is not the weather, but St. Patrick’s Day. On the eve of the holiday just this past week, I settled into my leather chair with a glass of Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey and the newly released live Dropkick Murphys record. In preparation for the holiday’s festivities, there could not have been a more perfectly fitting record for the time. Throughout the past decade, it had been tranquil for Dropkick Murphys fans to find comfort in a new release every other year. The Murphys had begun the trend in 1999 with their second full-length release “The Gang’s All Here” and have held true to this until the present day. It has now been three years since the band has released new material, with “Live on Lansdowne” serving as some sort of consolation for the delay.
The Dropkick Murphys’ celtic-punk tandem has accumulated a tremendous cult following in the past twelve years, not just in the City of Boston, but all over the world. Their hard hitting and rather unconventional punk has been attributed to momentous energy and zeal; and these characteristics are only taken to the extreme in their live performances. These Irish-blooded Bostonians have made it a tradition to play in their beloved home city for the past 10 years on St. Patrick’s Day. The Murphys have consistently given their raucous fans exactly what they have wanted with their electrifying stage presence. “Live on Lansdowne, Boston MA,” is a crystal-clear production of the 2009 show, recorded for the sole purpose of releasing it in time for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day.
More often than not, live albums are an accurate representation of what the band brings to the table in their performances, and may give even the smallest feeling that you are in attendance. Boston’s boisterous crowd is apparent immediately, with their opening chants of “Let’s go Murphys;” both shaking with anticipation and exploding with enthusiasm. The Murphys are quick to counter, playing three of the blistering tracks from their latest, “The Meanest of Times.” The searing intensity of the opening songs in the set, is nothing that is not expected from the band; rolling through fan favorites such as the Boston Bruins tribute Time to Go
and the blissful Sunshine Highway
. There does not appear to be a great deal of deviation from the original studio versions of the tracks, with a bit more aggression thrown into the mix. This bodes well for the majority of the set, especially Bastards on Parade
, which utilizes an even more intense and powerful bridge than the original version. Both the crowd and the band appear to have had a blast, with hand claps throughout and sing-alongs during The Dirty Glass
being further indication of this. Not unlike on “Blackout,” The Dirty Glass
once again features Stephanie Dougherty from the Deadly Sins. The track is easily a highlight of the set, and Dougherty contributes even more to the tremendous chemistry of vocalists Al Barr and Ken Casey. The Murphys seem to have surprise after surprise for the crowd, even signifying the presence of Massachusetts boxer Micky Ward, who was the inspiration for The Warrior’s Code
If the record seems to suffer in any particular area it is the lack of older material in the setlist. Only two of the songs are featured on the band’s first three releases, and the set is loaded with tracks from “The Meanest of Times.” The Murphys don’t cease to deliver on the final moments of the night, playing fan favorites Kiss Me I’m ***faced
and I’m Shipping Up to Boston
to conclude their 9th annual St. Patrick’s Day show. Even with no new record to be released or even recorded at the time being, the Murphys are able to offer a bit of consolation for their anxious fans with “Live on Lansdowne, Boston MA.” The record not only captures the incredible energy of the Dropkick Muphys’ live performances, but is also an exuberant listen on the whole. Along with “Live on St. Patrick’s Day from Boston,” this album is just another gem that will add to the band’s already illustrious discography.
Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya
Time to Go
Bastards on Parade
Caught in a Jar
Fields of Athenry
The Dirty Glass
Kiss Me, I’m ***faced